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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

 

The Sky This Week - Thursday August 29 to Thursday September 5

The New Moon is  Thursday September 5. Mars and Jupiter are prominent in the early morning. The crescent Moon visits Jupiter on the 1st and Mars on the 2nd. Venus is easily visible in the western evening sky and is close to the bright star Spica on the 5th. Saturn is  not far above Venus. Nova in Delphinus is visible in binoculars.

The New Moon is  Thursday September 5.


Evening sky looking west as seen from Adelaide at 19:00 pm local time on Thursday September 5. Venus is quite high in the evening sky next to the bright star Spica. Venus, Spica, Saturn and Arcturus form a triangle in the evening sky. The insets show the telescopic views of the planets at this time. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local times.  Click to embiggen.

Venus  climbs higher in the evening twilight. It can easily be seen 20 minutes after sunset. The brightest (spectacularly so) object above the western horizon it is visible up to two hours or more after sunset (depending on how flat your western horizon is).

Venus climbs higher in the sky and approaches the bright star Spica. On the 5th, Venus is closest to Spica. Venus, Spica, Saturn and the star Arcturus form a triangle in the evening sky

Saturn is easily visible above the western horizon in the early evening in the constellation of Virgo. This is still a good time to view this planet in a small telescope, you can show the kids before they go to bed. Saturn sets around 10:30 pm local time.

Opposition (when Saturn is biggest and brightest as seen from Earth) was on April 28. However, Saturn will be a worthwhile evening target for telescopes of any size for a while. The sight of this ringed world is always amazing.

Morning sky on Sunday September 1 looking north-east as seen from Adelaide at 5:30 am local time in South Australia. Mars, Jupiter, and Procyon form a triangle in the morning sky. The crescent Moon is close to Jupiter. Similar views will be seen elsewhere at the equivalent local time (click to embiggen).

Mars, Jupiter and the bright star Procyon start the week forming a triangle in the morning twilight.  Jupiter is in the constellation Gemini. Mars is passing through the constellation Cancer.


Mars rises only a little higher in the morning twilight, but is now reasonably visible before the sky pales substantially. On Monday September 2 and Tuesday September 3 the crescent Moon is close to Mars.

Jupiter is now well above the north-eastern horizon, above and to the left of Mars. It is quite easy to see in the morning sky well into the twilight. During the week Jupiter rises higher and continues to move away from Mars. On Sunday September 1 the crescent Moon is close to Jupiter.
  
Mercury  is lost to view.

Location of Nova Delphinus 2013 as seen looking north from Adelaide at 10:00 pm local time.The location is marked with a square. Similar views will be seen at the equivalent local time in other Southern Hemisphere locations. Click to embiggen.

Nova Delphinus is magnitude 6, fading slowly from its peak of 4.4. It is now visible only in binoculars, possibly even having mini-outbursts. A printable binocular map and telescopic coordinates are here

There are lots of interesting things in the sky to view with a telescope. Especially with Venus and Saturn so prominent in the sky.  If you don't have a telescope, now is a good time to visit one of your local astronomical societies open nights or the local planetariums

Printable PDF maps of the Eastern sky at 10 pm AEST, Western sky at 10 pm AEST. For further details and more information on what's up in the sky, see Southern Skywatch.


Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

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